Time to Give Sven Andrighetto His Due

It hasn’t been easy for Montreal Canadiens rookie forward Sven Andrighetto to solidify a regular place in the lineup, but a recent injury to Brendan Gallagher has given Andrighetto the opportunity of a lifetime.

Andrighetto has stepped onto the top line with Max Pacioretty and Alex Galchenyuk and has quietly played a big role. His skill set is well suited to playing with the team’s best two forwards as he possesses good hands, speed and a willingness to battle for loose pucks.

Who is Sven Andrighetto?

As a junior player, Andrighetto was passed over twice in the draft before Montreal scooped him up in 2013 in the third round at 86th overall. Having been in his last year of junior eligibility, he was old enough to join the AHL where he put up 44 and 43 points in his rookie and sophomore years. Last year, Andrighetto got his first taste of the NHL where he had three points in 12 games.

At the start of this season, there was no room for Andrighetto so he was sent to the AHL. However, as the injuries piled up, Andrighetto got a second chance to come back up but it hasn’t been smooth sailing. Habs head coach Michel Therrien is notoriously impatient when it comes to rookies, especially if their defensive games aren’t up to his standard. Andrighetto is not a pure defensive player by any means but he isn’t a disaster in his own end. As an offensively gifted player and being relatively inexperienced at the NHL level, Andrighetto is going to make mistakes.

All He Needed Was a Chance

It’s what Andrighetto does in response to those mistakes that will make him better. As the season has gone on, his game has improved despite being scratched for lesser players on numerous occasions or being put on the fourth line in a role unsuited to his talents. At 5′ 10″, Andrighetto is definitely on the smaller side but he is stocky. No doubt playing more minutes with better players has helped Andrighetto’s game as he has three points in his last two games and has made some nice plays on the top line.

Montreal has been looking for top six players for a while and Andrighetto is currently seizing his opportunity with Pacioretty and Galchenyuk. He has shown he can put up numbers at previous levels of hockey and he is showing he can do it in the NHL. Demoting players if they make a mistake or not producing right off the bat is not the way to develop a player. Like with any rookie, Andrighetto just needed a chance to show what he can do.

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